[CEO Friday] Top Three Skills for Software Engineers in 2015

David Barrett —  January 2, 2015 — 2 Comments

A new year is always the perfect time to break the cycle.  Stop doing what you hate, and find something you love to take its place.  This includes job hunting — if you hate your job, do something else.  Like everyone else, we’re eagerly hiring, so if you are intrigued by what we do, here’s what we look for:

Plan out your projects

Have a side project you’re passionate about? Figure out how to get it done!

1) Passion

Actually do what you say you want to do.  If you’re in school, there’s no excuse to not have a series of amazing side projects — you have nothing but free time, and if you aren’t spending it on side projects, you demonstrate that you don’t really care about what you claim to.  If you’re already working, work *hard*.  Excel among your peers.  If you have the ability, prove it.

2) Maturity

Figure out what you want in your life, and have a clear sense of how to get there.  Don’t get distracted by hype and FUD, and keep your drama in check — focus on whatever is stopping you from taking the next step forward, and make sure every job you take is a deliberate choice instead of a bidding war.  You’ve only got one life to live: make the most of it, starting today.

3) Talent

Obviously, you’ve got to be good, but that’s the inevitable byproduct of (1) and (2).  But the best talent of all isn’t in starting — it’s in *finishing*.  Work harder on fewer projects, and get them to a demonstrable state.  The tiny details at the end are much harder than big decisions at the start.  The difference between a good programmer and a great programmer is experience actually shipping working products, and solving the myriad unforeseeable problems that arise therein.

These are the top three things I’d say I look for in anybody, especially programmers.  All three are under your control, and can be pursued via a conscious choice.  Make that choice today, and make 2015 your best year yet!

David Barrett


Founder of Expensify, destroyer of expense reports, and savior to frustrated employees worldwide.

2 responses to [CEO Friday] Top Three Skills for Software Engineers in 2015


    All these skills are very useful specially for the software engineer. Very nice and informative post


    Great advice David, 3 very good points. Point 2 is important for graduates especially.

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